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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1814 - June 18, 2008 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 9

eBay Cans Buyer Widgets in Favor of Seller Solutions

By Ina Steiner
June 18, 2008

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Last year, the eBay Developer's Conference was about motivating developers to drive buyers to the site, enticing them to build buy-side applications with the promise of eBay affiliate revenue. As one developer said, last year it was "all about widgets." This year, eBay has a new goal: to inspire developers to innovate to help solve problems for merchants.

The announcement of Project Echo on Monday in which eBay is opening up its platform to seller applications a la Facebook is just one sign of this new approach. Meetings with PayPal's Glenn Lim and eBay's Max Mancini and Adam Trachtenberg confirmed eBay's message that it recognizes sellers' challenges and looks to developers to help sellers succeed.

Max Mancini is eBay's Senior Director of Platform and Disruptive Innovation, and Adam Trachtenberg is eBay's Director of Product Management for Platform & Services. In a podcast interview, they talked about Project Echo and what it means for developers and for sellers (http://podcast.auctionbytes.com) and describe one of the applications that has already been built on Echo.

Mancini said the initiative also helps developers with marketing and distribution. "We want to make sure that when someone creates an application that is relevant for a seller - that helps them scale their business - that sellers find it."

Glenn Lim is PayPal's General Manager of Alliances and Developer Services. He spent 20 years at Oracle and has been at eBay for 1 year. His first task was to go on a 9-city road tour to meet with merchants and developers. Lim said every event was sold out, and at the events, he heard merchants asking for developer assistance.

In response, Lim created a certification program to help PayPal build a directory of developers who could help merchants solve their problems. He has also built up educational resources for merchants and developers. And yesterday, PayPal announced Developer Central (in beta) to further help developers. Lim said PaypPal wants to have a two-tiered resource - the first built around knowledge and the payment industry, and the second on how to enable the community of developers to spark innovation.

Mancini summed up the reason for eBay's focus on "developers helping merchants": "We can't do it all ourselves," he said.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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